Several studies, including a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), show that young people between 18 and 24 years old often become the victims of identity theft, and most do not realize it. The FTC report stated that during 2015, over 490,000 complaints were made about identity theft. That number is 47% higher than reports from 2014. Most of the reports were made by those under the age of 24.
This study corresponds with one done by Javelin Strategy and Research. It reported that in 2014, young people were three times less likely to notice that their identity had been stolen. Twenty-two percent of identity theft victims were notified by another party, most often debt collectors, or learned about the crime when a lender denied their credit application.
Students often fall victim to identity theft because they are careless with documents containing personal information. Some do not believe anyone would want to steal their identity because they do not have a large amount of income. Criminals target students because of the vast amount of personal information that can be easily obtained at a college.
Officials urge students to destroy documents containing personal information, especially those that include full or partial Social Security numbers. They should also remember to be careful what information they put on social media. That information plus an address and phone number can often be enough to steal someone's identity.
If you would like to prevent identity theft, check out our credit monitoring service.